With the rise of pollution and the world worrying about carbon footprints, there have been developments in the textile industries to develop fibres that are not only sustainable in their process of manufacture but are also easily biodegradable. Environmentalists think that this revolutionary change in the textile industry will change the fashion industry’s functionality and make it more feasible for the environment to thrive while developing new fashion trends.
Here are some alternatives to conventional cotton and nylon fabrics that can rule the world of fashion and textile in the coming years.
Derived from the milk protein, Casein, Qmilk is made by using remnants of raw milk products. Milk production for human consumption leads to the production of several qualities of milk, out of which some are deemed unfit for human consumption. This milk is used for making Qmilk which is an antibacterial and hypoallergenic fabric. This process does not involve any chemicals, making it an amazing option for people who are sensitive to the chemicals used in conventional non-sustainable fabrics. Qmilk uses minimal energy while textile production, which implies lesser carbon input, hence making it a biodegradable fabric. So, are you trying this new Quality-Milk fabric?
Coffee Ground Fibres
Are you throwing away your coffee grounds? Wait, it can be used in making fabrics! Yes, you heard it right. Coffee ground fibres are made from the coffee grounds left behind after extracting coffee. The processed coffee grounds are mixed with a polymer to make batches and is then spun into yarns. This product can then be used in making household and outdoor products, and sportswear. These fibres are not only biodegradable but also have anti-ultraviolet rays values added along with natural anti-odour and quick-drying properties. Singtex, a company from Singapore, makes these fibres under the industrial name of S.Cafe by obtaining coffee grounds from the world’s largest coffee brand Starbucks.
Ever wondered if conventional leather had an alternative? Here is your answer. Kombucha is a textile flexible in making garments and footwear. Kombucha is developed from kombucha SCOBY – a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast traditionally used in making a fermented drink known as Kombucha. This fibre is made by drying the remains of the Kombucha ferment, which is biodegradable in nature and requires only sugar and water to grow the symbiotic family. Kombucha serves as a perfect alternative and is more natural and sustainable in its production.
Miss having pineapples? The next time you have them, just remember that those pretty, dark-green leaves of the fruit can be transformed into fibres. A complete vegan alternative to conventional leather, pineapple fibres are made using pineapple leaves. A process called decortication is involved in extracting these fibres, followed by industrial processing to make them non-woven fibres. The biomass produced in this process is reused as fertilizers, making the product completely sustainable and environmentally efficient. These fibres have been patented by a London-based firm Ananas Anam under the name Pinatex after years of research and hard work. This fabric is not only breathable but also flexible, versatile, soft and easy to print on, making it an obvious choice for a variety of fashion products.
SeaCell, as the name suggests, is a fibre obtained from seaweeds, mainly the brown algae. Lyocell is a closed-loop process used in manufacturing this fibre by turning cellulose fibres into a soft textile that is biodegradable. SeaCell is generated only once in 4 years to ensure that they completely regenerate before they are harvested again. These fibres are rich in minerals and vitamins, making them suitable for preventing itching, anti-inflammatory effects, cell-damaging free radicals, and other skin-related diseases. You might not be interested in the algal colonies, but SeaCells are going to be game-changers in the sustainable fashion industry.
You must have heard of lotus-shaped eyes, but have you heard of lotus fibres? Having roots in Thailand and Myanmar, lotus fibres have been used for centuries but did not gain much popularity until the world started moving towards sustainable products. Lotus fibres can be said to provide elitist fabrics with a texture similar to linen and silk – soft, silky, stain-resistant, light-weight, and breathable. India’s Jaipur-based company – Hero’s Fashion Private Limited has a hold on the market in lotus textiles, with its NoMark Lotus T-shirts gaining popularity and many supporters. However, one drawback of this sustainable fibre is its tedious manufacturing process. It involves obtaining the fibres from the lotus stems within three days of the harvest to obtain maximum results. But this does not overshadow the fact that the quality of fibres obtained is superior in quality and environment friendly.
When it comes to talking about sustainability, we cannot miss jute. Jute matures in about 6 months and does not require any encroachment in the wilderness and natural habitat and can survive on natural rainfall. Jute is completely biodegradable, and its oxygen-producing rate is also even faster than trees. It does not require any additional growth optimizers like pesticides and fertilizers and does not produce microfibres. Jute is environment-friendly, with its products like jute rugs, ropes, mats, burlap, and bags that can be used in making compost for your garden. Planning to go to the grocery? Why not take the jute bag this time!
Notably one of the strongest fibres in the world, banana fibres are made from the banana tree stem. These are extremely durable and have a high sustainability quotient. Fibres are made up of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. The production of these fibres is also a closed-loop process, with fibres being made from discarded stems of the banana plant. However, similar to lotus fibres, extraction of banana fibres is also labour-intensive. Yet, the fibres are soft and possess high tensile strength, which can be used to make myriad products like ropes, mats, beads, threads, purses, woven fabrics, as well as handmade papers. So the next time you eat a banana, do not underestimate its power to save the environment!
We live on this earth with a responsibility to make it better for future generations. It should be in our conscience to protect the environment in any way that may help reduce climate infliction on the planet. You need not sit and weave fibres from banana or lotus stems, but what you can do is to use those banana peels and dried lotus flowers to make manure for your kitchen or home garden. A small step today will cause a greater impact tomorrow. Try it, and believe me, you will experience happiness.